The National Restaurant Association announced a month-long initiative to encourage restaurant and foodservice operators to participate in the 17th Annual National Food Safety Education Month (NFSEM) during September.

The campaign focuses on the importance of food safety education and training, while continuing to raise awareness of the industry's commitment to food safety.

This year's theme, "Lessons Learned from the Health Inspection," is sponsored by SCA, a global hygiene company and makers of the Tork brand of away-from-home paper products.

"There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our guests at restaurants around the country, and National Food Safety Education Month highlights our industry's commitment to serving healthful, delicious and safe meals every day," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA. "Our industry serves 130 million guests daily, and we know that it's critical to train our employees in safe food handling practices. Through our national campaign, we encourage the nation's nearly 1 million restaurants to demonstrate their dedication to food safety."

As part of the campaign, free weekly training activities, food safety tips and free posters are now available for download online. All NFSEM materials are based on the NRA's ServSafe food safety training and certification program. ServSafe's food protection manager program has awarded more than 4.6 million certifications to date.

The curriculum for National Food Safety Education Month is broken down into five weekly sessions, including:

  • How to work with a health inspector;
  • Handling food;
  • Cleaning and sanitizing;
  • Proper food storage techniques; and
  • Handling utensils and equipment.

The NRA also provides a toolkit for restaurant operators to communicate their participation in National Food Safety Education Month to their guests. This toolkit includes the initiative's logo, a news release for restaurants, sample tweets and email templates that promote involvement in the program. All these items are available for download online.

Participating restaurants are also encouraged to visit www.talktork.com to receive a consultation from a Tork Solutions Expert, in addition to a free trial of Tork products in honor of NFSEM.

Read more about food safety.

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